Deterioration of Agricultural Products in Yemen [Archives:1999/41/Business & Economy]

October 11 1999

Ismail Al-Ghaberi 
Yemen Times 
Politicians and economists affirmed that the food will not exist as a goods which can be bought in the markets as any other goods, but it will be an important material. The one who does not have it, will be threaten by the danger of starvation. 
Yemeni people still ignore the concept of food. We find that the main resource of food production is agriculture. But we do not pay attention to this sector. The average product of agriculture is different from the other rates. 
The international resources indicate that the development of the agricultural product was the main factor which changed the bad status of the advanced countries. for example European countries and America control the food of the world. 
We have to recognize the quantity of the total agricultural product. We can get this information from the survey authority. The quantity should be ton kilogram for each hectare. 
Through the above table, we find that all corns are declined. All the rates which we mentioned in the table went down. 
Local categories of seeds: 
Agriculture is one of the oldest activities, which began in the ancient periods. The process of sowing in Yemen was traditional. There was no sowing machines which may help farmers. Because of the declining of the agriculture in some areas, Yemenis moved to other fertile areas to get a good product. 
We can say that the declining of the agricultural product refers to the old traditional ways, which are being followed by farmers. In addition to this, the land is not fertile enough. The problem also lies on the sowing of the same agricultural kinds at the same areas. The different kinds of seeds in Yemen are about 300. Yemeni farmers gathered these seeds from local corns, and brought them from different countries. 
The different kinds of seeds are normal, which means that the farmers did not add any chemical material. We should use the modern ways to develop our agricultural product. It needs a fertilizer, water and using of the sowing machines. This product is called the condensed product. 
If we look to the international statistics in the countries which product wheat, we find that these countries have a limited level of the fertile areas from the beginning of the 1960s. They can fulfill the additional demand of the markets. 
Lack of planning: 
Because of the traditional ways of our local agriculture, the different categories of seeds give a low product. The causes of the low product as follows: 
– Most of the agricultural product’s ways are traditional. They do not use the modern ways. 
– The number of the fertilized areas is very low. 
Lack of water resources: 
– Dependence upon import, which led finally to the declining of the agriculture. 
– Absence of the agricultural planning, which fulfills country’s policy. They depend upon irregular ways. 
– They do not use the local categories of seeds to develop product. 
– The farmers do not get the incomes of agriculture while they are needed. 
The country did not achieve its aims: 
The causes which affected the development of the agricultural product as follows: 
– Most of the agricultural areas depend upon rain water. The product is being affected by the natural factors. 
There are big efforts of the country to develop agriculture. The projects concerned economic developments, dams, agricultural researches, production of seeds and agricultural guidance. But these activities do not achieve its aims because there is no policy for this process. We find that the farmers do not exploit the services and loans in agriculture that they get from the government. They used them to develop other agricultural corns as ‘Qat’. There is no economic and agricultural policy. The government plays important roles to develop agriculture and wheat product through the Agricultural Researches Association. At the same time, there is no policy which can support the local product. 
As the agricultural researches began to practice their activities to develop the different categories of seeds. These interests were concentrated on the wheat corns. There happened a prominent development on the production of wheat. But this development went down since the beginning of the 1990s because the old categories were affected and there was no substitute categories. In addition to this, there is no projects which can evaluate the local categories, and determine a size for each category or to develop its characteristics. 

Citizen Responsibility: 
The Yemeni farmer did not use the local ways which practiced before. These ways help to exploit the natural resources and protect from the natural changes. 
There are such reasons which disturbed the development of the traditional ways. The reconstruction of dams needs new mechanisms and devices to be implemented. In the past these projects were implemented according to the law and legislation. The need of the society helped to implement these projects. The absence of the legislation and the dependence upon the import is one of the factors which interrupted the agriculture. Moreover, we have the urban development; industrial and trading. The farmers turned to sow the financial corns instead of the foods corns. These are the main factors which affected the agricultural process. 
The importance of Product: 
There are such factors which we must take them in consideration. 
1- The limitation of the agricultural areas: 
Through the statistics of the natural resources in our country, we can say that the fertile areas are limited. Inspite of that the total size of Yemen is about 55 million hectare. So, we find that the fertile size is about 1,6 million hectare or 2,9 %. 
According to the reports of the International Trade, the needs of Yemen of wheat in 1998 was 2 million ton. If the local product is the same as in 1997, it will cover only 7 % of wheat. Two million ton of wheat needs 1,6 million hectare. This is what we call the horizontal expansion. Now, the exploited size is about 1,1 million hectare. 
The raped increase of population: 
The reports of the National Conference of the Population Policy titled (Population and Development: Future Challenges ), says that Yemen is one of the world countries in population increase. During the period of the 1960s, we did not witness any increase in population because of the increase of death rate. The population of Yemen in 1950 was 4,3 million. In 1975 was 6,9 million. The annual rate of population during 1950- 1975 was 1,9. In 1980 the population was 8,1 million or 3, 1% to 9,9 million. In 1986 the average rate was 3, 3 %. 
During the period of the 1990s, the population witnessed a raped increase because of the returning of the immigrants and the rate of the death went down. The rate of the statistics in 1994 was 3,7 %. It is expected that the population of Yemen will increase during the upcoming 19 years. 
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT): 
It was established in 1947. Twenty three industrial countries met in Geneva to make free trade. The contract of this agreement signed in 1994 in Morocco. About 117 country signed this contract. Yemen was one of these countries. The articles of the contract concentrated on the agriculture. They agreed that the product of the advanced countries should be 20 %, while the product in the developing countries should be 13, 3 % during the upcoming ten years. The subsidization of the export should be deleted. Yemen depends upon export to cover about 70 % of its needs. 
– We should pay interest to the new researches and developments which help to produce high categories of seeds. We should apply the recommendations which help of increasing the product. 
– We should give the opportunity to the investors of the agricultural sector. – – We should also give the opportunity to the qualified graduates who are professional on the agricultural sector. 
– The agricultural projects should be changed into productive projects to administrate the personal abilities. 
The true exploitation of the agricultural areas will lead to develop product. This needs cooperation from the Ministry of Agriculture and the other agricultural associations. 
The misusing of the agriculture means caused pollution in the fertile soil. The Ministry of Agriculture should follow new policy to increase the process of product in some governorates as Al-jawf, Mareb, Hadramout, Al-Mahra, Lahj, Abian and Tehamah. This process should be implemented under the scientific control. 
The following points should be taken in consideration: 
1- The agriculture should depend upon the groundwater. 
2- Finding the high productive categories, which respond to the conditions of the product. 
3- Giving the possible opportunities which help export. 
4- Encourage services of industry & storage. 
The projects of the Ministry of Agriculture: 
– Using the new ways which protect from drought. 
– Finding solutions to the problems of farmers, and show them how to use new mechanisms. 
– Preparing new programs and researches to develop the agricultural process. 
– Encourage the different activities of the Agricultural Loans Bank, and the Agricultural Product Fund in order to help the small farmers. 
– Encourage the invested projects to develop the product of food.